Being a person and a business, and keeping your opinions to yourself

No doubt, if you follow me on any social media, you have noticed that I’m not great at staying silent about social inequality topics like marriage equality & homophobia. And because my label is just me, that opinion gets declared on my instagram, twitter & facebook feed. I have noticed that some people keep their opinions on issues like this very quiet, and I have had one woman make a vague reference (was I supposed to take it as a threat? LOL) about not shopping from people who make political posts on their business pages… but you know what, that lady? I don’t want your money if you don’t support marriage equality. Go buy your fashion from someone who is passionate about your causes. May I suggest that Guy Who Loves A Dress, Cory Bernardi, be your inspiration, and good luck to you. Yeah I get it, it sucks hearing about stuff that you don’t care about. But some of us do care. We care mightily. And for those who are directly effected by all this? You can bet your backside they care.

I decided early on with this venture that how I feel about this, and other social issues, is integral to me and so by extension my brand, my label, it’s part of who I am and so of course it inspires my creative pursuits. Social inequality in the fashion world is, after all, one of the major reasons that Joolz exists as a fashion label. If there were a bunch of fashion houses already supplying the plus size market with all the things I wanted to wear, then I wouldn’t have had so much reason to make, and later start selling my own clothes.

So this is really two fingers in the air to those who have decided to play it “safe” and in doing so, not give their wholehearted support to the members of our society who need it most. That’s a privilege that those this directly effects can not afford to do, and I choose to support them. But it’s mainly two fingers up to that ridiculous woman who thought I would give a rats about courting business from obscene dinosaurs who haven’t got the cognitive skills to find their way into the 21st century.

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Sometimes you just have to let go of an idea

I don’t get back to this blog as often as I should, I know. But I find running my own business, all the online work, keeping things photographed and updated on etsy, making sure I post on instagram and facebook and twitter and (let’s face it, only every now and then) tumblr, and looking after the online shop, is quite enough web stuff to look after thank you very much. The blogging is something I love the idea of, but never get back to regularly. I guess this is why I’m not an author, huh?

The label has grown and changed quite a lot in the past year. I have lots more designs and lots more prints and lots more work to do! My last collection was nautically-themed, which was fun to create. I thought it would be interesting to have people vote (anyone could vote, not just existing customers) via facebook & instagram for their favourite prints from a series of options. I would select the top favourites to make up my collection, plus a couple extra designs that I really wanted to include. But I discovered, again, that what people say they want, and what people actually physically buy, are two very different things. It is interesting indeed.

In the same vein, I had learnt from someone who used to work for big loyalty card program (those programs exist purely for data mining, btw, not to reward your loyal custom) that people say what they think you “want” to hear, or what they think the “right” answer is, but then many go on to purchase completely differently to their stated intentions – and I certainly have learnt that to be the case. This dynamic apparently is very true in respect to eco-friendly, green, locally-sourced, ethically- or locally-made products. Lots of people say they want these options, but almost no one actually buys them. Sad, huh?

With Joolz, I’ve been trying to have a locally-sourced, locally-made label, which can be very challenging and frustrating in practice. Having everything done locally has proved to be very difficult. And it turns out that apparently zero of my customers care about my garments being made locally. The only place that it really matters is at one of the markets I currently do, and yes, I will have to give that market up if I take my label, or even part of the manufacturing of it, offshore, but that is looking more and more likely if I want to stop having so many headaches.

Running your own business is a huge job, and having a micro-indie-label, like I have, means it is also not a high-paying job. Major headaches around local manufacturing quality control, months-long lead times for tiny orders, high minimums with even higher prices if you want to be treated decently, is just getting to be too much for me. I love my job, but all this stuff is causing me angst. I think it’s time to make the leap and go offshore. It’s a shame, as I would have loved to keep it all done in Australia, but the local businesses that I have dealt with recently have done nothing to make me feel like that’s an enjoyable prospect. It will end up costing me more to manufacture overseas. I know everyone has this idea that taking your business offshore saves money, but when you have to pay for all that shipping back and forth, which just keeps going up and up and up, plus things like import and export taxes that foreign manufacturing leaves you open to, and with the prices of materials not being any better than locally sourced fabrics, it actually means this will not be as good for me economically. But it will save me some headaches around production, I hope. We shall see.